Archive for the ‘Hammond Organ’ Category

Willie Mitchell RIP

January 5, 2010

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The Mighty Willie Mitchell

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Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – That Driving Beat

Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – Up Hard

Listen/Download -Willie Mitchell – My Babe

Greetings all.

I come to you today with some sad news, that being the passing of the giant of Memphis soul and R&B, Mr. Willie Mitchell.
Mitchell is best known – at least to those outside of hardcore soulies – as the man who made Hi Records a major force in soul music, especially via his productions for Al Green, Syl Johnson, Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright and many others.
Mitchell, who was born in Ashland, Mississippi – got his start as a trumpet playing bandleaders in Memphis before joing Joe Coughi’s Hi label in 1959 as an artist, producer, and arranger. Following Coughi’s death in 1970, Mitchell ended up bringing the label its greatest success.
The music of Willie Mitchell (as performer and producer) has been a constant presence in the Funky16Corners Radio podcasts, and the three songs I bring you today all appeared in those mixes over the last three years.
The first two, ‘That Driving Beat’ and ‘Up Hard’ are both Mod soul classics.
1965’s ‘That Driving Beat’ is a slamming dancer in a Junior Walker stylee, with blaring tenor sax, a horn section that sounds like the model for Otis Redding’s version of Satisfaction’ and unlike most of his records from this period, vocals.
‘Up Hard’, written by (and featuring) organist Art Jerry Miller (who went on to record his own album for the Stax subsidiary Enterprise) mixes a tight horn section with a powerful, gritty guitar line and pounding drums. The 1968 single was released with two different B-sides.
The final track, Mitchell’s 1969 cover of Willie Dixon’s ‘My Babe’ is a 45 that I slept on for YEARS. There it sat in my crates, picked up at some flea market or other for a pittance, all but ignored. Never a huge fan of the song itself, I finally pulled it out one day and gave it a spin, and was promptly blown away. There, nestled in the grooves of a record that I had long suspected was a run of the mill R&B/soul instrumental, was a sizzling bit of organ funk that has had a place of honor in my DJ box ever since.
These tunes by no means represent a comprehensive sampling of Willie Mitchell’s career. They’re just three of his records that I like a lot.
I suspect that other – in particular Red Kelly of the B-Side – will be posting long form tributes to the greatness of Willie Mitchell.
Dig the tunes, and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

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Funky16Corners Christmas Flashback Pt1 – Clarence Carter / George Conedy

December 17, 2009

Greetings all.

The time has come for Funky16Corners to get back into the Christmas groove. We are doing so by re-upping Christmas posts from years past, soon to be followed by a new Christmas track next week. I’m slacking a little on new material since I suffered through a root canal this morning.

I hope you dig these tunes and I’ll see you all on Monday with some more holiday heat.

Peace

Larry

Originally Posted December 2006

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Clarence Carter

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Listen – Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa ”

Listen – George Conedy – El Nino del Tambor”

Greetings all (and Ho Ho Ho).
It’s time for the second annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
As I’ve gone over a few different times, I’ve never been a big collector of (any) holiday themed funk and soul. I may pick up a piece here and there – when it turns up – but I don’t generally seek it out. This is the main reason it may take a decade or so before you see me post a Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I just don’t have the raw material at my disposal.
That is not to say that I would ever let the time of year go by unnoticed, and this time out I have a couple of excellent funky yule logs for ye, one you may have heard, and another that you almost certainly haven’t.
The former may very well be my all time favorite funk/soul Christmas record, by one of the truly great voices of 60’s and 70’s soul. The singer, Mr. Clarence Carter, the song, ‘Back Door Santa’.
First off, I suspect that someone, somewhere in the funky blog-o-sphere will be dropping this chestnut, and I don’t care, on account of I love this record, and you should too, and much like spinach and yams, more than one serving will only serve to improve your overall well being.
That said, Clarence rips it up here, whipping every last bit of funk they had hidden at Fame studios on you (as well as jingle bells and egg nog), with all the good Santa-related double (hardly) entendres money can buy. Get this on thy-Pod post haste, so that over the weekend, when some wet blanket tries to throw ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ (or, God forbid that thing where the dogs bark out ‘Jingle Bells’) on at the Christmas gathering, you can parry (and thrust) with this big, jangling set of Christmas balls and really get the party started.
I mean, seriously…how can your ears suck up this groovy gravy, and your butt fail to respond– in the words of the great Lee Dorsey (without whom everything you do can’t be funky) – with the make-a-shake-a-make-a-hula, or however it is you likes to shake it (but don’t break it).
By the way, if some youngster starts tugging on your scarf when this starts playing, it’s because he heard this songs very essence sampled by none other than Run DMC (It’s Christmas in Hollis Queens! Etc etc).
On the flippity flop, I bring you the result of a happy accident (referring not to the recording of the record, but rather the circumstances by which it landed in my Crate du Hammonde).
The record in question popped up a while back on the sale list of a pal of mine, who’s taste in music I hold in very high regard (howdy Agent 45…).
So, on this list I see a record with the brief (but wholly sufficient description of “funky Hammond version”), directly adjacent to a very reasonable price, which was at the end of a line that began with a Spanish song title (which I didn’t bother to translate). So, I pay my money, some time elapses and the record in question pops through the mail slot at Funky16Corners headquarters. I whipped it on the turntable, and in a few short seconds (about as long as I suspect it will take you) it became apparent that the title was in fact ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ en Espanol.
I have to say that even as a tike, when they still showed the animated special of the same title, this was far from my favorite Christmas tune, certainly not the kind of thing I thought capable of funk-a-fi-zation. Little did I know that sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s an organist named George Conedy laid down an LP of Christmas tunes for the gospel subsidiary of the Kent label, which I am assuming was the source of the music on this very 45**.

All I have to say is that George took an overly solemn carol and turned it into a slow, funky jam that sounds like it dropped out of the long lost (so long lost as to never have existed..) Santa-sploitation classic “Superfly Santa the Hard Way” aka “Hell Up in the North Pole”, in which our hero, Saint Nicky, wearing a red (of course) velvet suit, and driving a red and white Caddy brings Christmas joy to all the poor kids (and a few of the better looking women) on his route.
I’ve gone a-Googling, and as far as I can tell Mr. Conedy has vanished into the ether.
Well, wherever you be I say Huzzah! And Merry Christmas to you George!

And the same to all of you readers.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, go out and suck up some of that Christmas cheer. It’s good for the soul.
I may not post until the middle of next week (days off, visiting with the family and all that) but I promise you some excellent pre-New Years grooves.

*Though this is the blogs third Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004

**For some strange reason the flip side of the Conedy 45 is a recording of Billie Holiday singing ‘God Bless the Child’. I get the thematic connection, just not why thelong deceased BH ended up on the b-side of a George Conedy 45.

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One for the Kids

November 15, 2009

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Artwork copyright 2009 – Miles Grogan (age 5)

Funky16Corners Radio v.76 – One For the Kids – Funk and Soul for Children of All Ages

Playlist

Rufus Thomas – Do the Funky Penguin Pt1 (Stax)
Shirley Ellis – The Clapping Song (Congress)
Village Soul Choir – A-B-C’s (Abbott)
Freddy & the Kinfolk – The Goat (Dade)
Electric Company feat Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby – Jelly Belly (WB)
Banana Splits – Doin’ the Banana Split (Kelloggs)
George Semper – Shortnin’ Bread (Imperial)
Bill Doggett – The Worm (Columbia)
Schoolhouse Rock feat. Grady Tate – I Got Six (Capitol)
Guitar Ray – Patty Cake Shake (Hot Line)
King Coleman – The Boo Boo Song Pt1 (King)
JC Davis – Monkey (Chess)
Jerry O – The Funky Chicken Yoke (Boogaloo)
Okie Duke – Chicken Licken’ (Ovation)
Jackson Five – ABC (Motown)
The Philly Four – The Elephant (Cobblestone)
The Unemployed – Funky Rooster (Cotillion)
Lucky Peterson Blues Band – Good Old Candy (Today)
The Portraits – Three Blind Mice (Tri Disc)
Maggie Thrett – Soupy (From Tha Soul)

To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

I know this may seem a little early for the arrival of the next Funky16Corners Radio podcast, but sometimes it’s just like that.
The roots of this mix go a long way back (maybe a couple of years?) to a suggestion by a regular reader (who’s identity has been lost in the depths of my e-mail account, raise your hand if it’s you…) that I put together a mix of funk and soul tunes for the kids out there (I have two of my own, and I’m sure a lot of you have your own too).
I thought that this was – in the words of the sage Gomez Addams – a capital idea, but like so many of those, it had to bounce around in the back alleys of the windmills of my mind for a while before I finally buckled down and started rummaging around in the crates to make it a reality. The 40th anniversary of Sesame Street kind of gave me a nudge to get this together as well.
Though the idea seemed simple enough, the realization of the concept took a little bit of thought. There were a couple of obvious selections (some of which made it into the mix, some fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons), but I really needed to go through the archive so that inspirado might finally take hold.
The tunes I was looking for needed to be things that would catch the ear of an actual kid (everything herein has been road tested with my three and five year old sons), and would also need to be “safe”, i.e. free of anything obviously inappropriate (please let me know if I missed anything….). I also wanted the contents of the mix to appeal to the young at heart as well, so that if you are so inclined you could cut a rug alongside your progeny.
Back when the theme was first suggested, the first (and at the time, only) record that came to mind was King Coleman’s ‘Boo Boo Song’, a 45 that sent my son into apoplexy the first time he heard it, and I suspect that it would have the same effect on most people, not just kids. When I hit the crates – as is always the case – I leaned in the direction of overkill, pulling all kinds of stuff that I thought might appeal to the younger set. As I worked through an imposing stack of wax – my sons at my side, some things went by the wayside, either because they ended up containing inappropriate content, or because they failed to elicit a positive response from the “focus group”.
Some of it, like the Electric Company and Schoolhouse Rock fell into the ‘purpose made’ category, their soulful and/or funky attributes merely a happy coincidence.
A couple of things in the mix were in fact performed by actual children (the Jackson Five and Lucky Peterson, who was actually five), and several others were based in kids nursery/playground rhymes. Others were just plain fun (the ‘animal’ themed numbers went over especially well with my kids).
I should also mention that the artwork for Funky16Corners Radio v.76 was created by my five year old son Miles. He drew it before I started working on the mix, but I felt it fit the vibe perfectly. With any luck he’ll whip up some covers for future editions of the podcast.
Listen closely for some blasts from your own childhood (anyone else ride for Captain Kangaroo??), and drop me line to let me know how the mix played with the kids in your life. Make sure you pull down the mixed version so you get all the ‘bonus’ material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something more traditional.

Peace

Larry

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Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

November 12, 2009

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Clive gets his suave on….

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Listen/Download -Shorty feat. Georgie Fame – Somebody Stole My Thunder

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you well.
I for one couldn’t be happier that the work week is over, so that I might once again hang with the fam in a relaxed setting. There’s nothing worse than coming directly off a vacation and jumping right back into work/school/routine. It almost makes you think twice about vacationing in the first place (almost…).
Of course, had I not gone away last weekend I wouldn’t have found the LP from which today’s selection originates (as well as a grip of other future Funky16Corners and Iron Leg tunes).
The song in question is the ‘live’ version of the sought after ‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ by the mighty Georgie Fame.
Surely some of you are familiar with the former Mr Clive Powell, especially those of you with roots in the world of Mod where Mr Fame is nothing less than the equivalent of a smooth, Hammond wrangling holy man.
Fame was, from the early 60s -  where he mixed equal parts Fats Domino and Mose Allison with the sounds of the beat era -  a singular talent, transcending his birth in Larry Parnes’ teen idol factory to become an icon of swinging cool.
He had a couple of hits in the US (’Yeh Yeh’ in 1965 and ‘Getaway’ in 1966) but was a major star in the UK through the 60s and early 70s. The LP ‘Shorty: featuring Georgie Fame’, which was released in 1970 seems in hindsight to have been an effort to apply an edge, or at least a festival/ballroom era veneer to Fame’s career, remaking him from a ‘personality’ and presenting him as part of a band (thus Shorty…). The project was short-lived (though the band did tour the US, appearing at the Fillmore West on a bill with Lee Michaels and Rod Stewart), and a close listen to the album reveals that ‘Shorty’ were less of a distinct band identity, pretty much sounding like Georgie Fame with a backing group.
Bassist Brian Odgers had played in Sweet Thursday, guitarist Colin Green had played on previous Fame LPs, drummer Harvey Burns played with Cat Stevens and Al Stewart and saxophonist Alan Skidmore was a veteran of the London R&B scene, having played with both Alexis Korner and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
The ‘Shorty’ album includes a couple of tunes from the previous year’s ‘Seventh Son’ LP as well as a reworking of the chestnut ‘Parchman Farm’.
‘Somebody Stole My Thunder’ is a funky, dancefloor mover with a sharp guitar line, churning Hammond and sax, and of course a stylish vocal by Georgie. It’s a little more diffuse than the studio version (popular on dancefloors the world over) but it still packs a wallop.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

Example

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PS Head over to Iron Leg for some groovy sunshine pop.

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Jimmy Smith – I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe

November 10, 2009

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The Intense Jimmy Smith

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Listen/Download -Jimmy Smith – I’m Gonna Love You a Just Little More Babe

Greetings all.
I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like taking a nap. The fall season has two specific effects on me, depending on the presence (or lack thereof) of the sun. If it’s sunny I want to get outside, fill my lungs with the crisp autumn air and love me some nature. If the sun is obscured by clouds, I feel like putting on my jammies and crawling into bed like a hibernating bear and staying there until it gets warm again. It doesn’t help that I’m especially sensitive to tree pollen and have been in an allergic haze, sneezing like a mofo and wishing my head didn’t feel like a solid block of cement.
I suppose this too shall pass.
On to groovier things….
Back in July, when I packed up my records and motored down to DC for a few nights of deejay type action, I had the good fortune to be invited to take part in the fifth anniversary of the Jazz Corner night at St Ex. There were a grip of DJs there, but at the center of the action were the mighty DJ Birdman and DC Digga. At the very beginning of DC Digga’s set he dropped the needle on a sweet break, which opened up into a very groovy Barry White cover. Naturally I had to know what it was and was shocked when my man held up a copy of Jimmy Smith’s ‘Black Smith’ LP.
I’d known about that particular record for a while but had never managed to score a copy of my own. In the weeks that followed I set out in search of one. When I finally tracked one down I gave the song I heard that night ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe’ several spins, digging not only the aforementioned break, but the entire arrangement.
This is some of that tasty late-night stuff. The master of the Hammond takes the lush, boudoir groove of White’s OG and adds a little bit of a funky edge to it so that one might dance to it (vertically or horizontally) if they were so inclined.
There are those – of this I’m certain – who would stroll by with upturned noses at the first great master of the Hammond organ ‘debasing’ himself in such a way, but I would respectfully ask those people to pull their heads from their asses and open their ears. By 1974 (when this LP came out) the era of hardcore greasy Hammond workouts had long since ceased to be. It was hard enough in the 60s for jazzers to make a living, and even moreso in the 70s. While some of his peers had moved on to diluted pop-jazz, Smith was still digging deep into the groove. The days of hard bop soloing may have been behind him, but he was still making quality music.
The record was produced by Michael Viner (of the Incredible Bongo Band) with a studio backing band (I’d love to know who that drummer is). The album also includes interesting versions of Timmy Thomas’ ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ and a funky take on ‘Hang ‘Em High’. ‘I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Babe’ was sampled by a Tribe Called Quest, the Beastie Boys and Kool G Rap.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back on Friday.

Peace

Larry

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James Booker – Gonzo

October 22, 2009

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Genius at Work: James Booker

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Listen/Download -James Booker – Gonzo

Greetings all.
I for one couldn’t be happier that this week is finally coming to a close. To borrow a well worn phrase from the Bard, life is currently beating me like a rented mule, leaving me tired, frazzled and ready to shut my brain off for a day or two. This has been one of those weeks that has been chock-a-block with stuff to do, places to be and spending far too little time in bed, sleeping or otherwise occupied.
Fortunately I have a block of restorative time penciled in for the weekend, during which I look forward to doing little more than making sure my sons are safe and fed, and feeding the non-creative section of what’s left of my brain with movies and such (and maybe a touch of light reading if I can muster up enough concentration.
The tune I bring you today is an old fave, which could land in either of two crates in the Funky16Corners vault, those being New Orleans and Hammond grooves.
The artist in question is the mighty James Booker.
Revered during his day as a keyboard master (on piano and organ both) and a dude with a talent for living on the edge (over which he eventually plummeted), James Booker wove his way in and out of the fabric of New Orleans music from his early days in the 1950s through his untimely death in 1983 (he was only 44).
Booker was not only gay at a time when that would have made his life difficult on a number of levels, but was also – sadly -  an alcoholic and a junkie.
He recorded his first 45 in 1954 and eventually hit the charts with today’s selection, ‘Gonzo’ in 1960 which was a Top 5 R&B hit, floating just outside of the Pop Top 40. Booker recorded a number of excellent 45s for Don Robey’s Duke and Peacock labels (one under the name of BB King’s drummer Earl Forrest), all of which Robey took writing credit for (under the pseudonym ‘D. Malone’).
Booker also did a stint playing organ in the band of fellow New Orleans-ian Lloyd Price, an example of which can be heard in Funky16Corners Radio v.23.5 Old School Hammond.
It’s not hard to imagine legions of people dropping their nickels into jukeboxes all over the country to cut a rug to ‘Gonzo’, which features Booker on the organ as well as a sweet flute solo (maybe James Rivers??). It has an infectious melody and the production is wonderful.
I hope you dig it.
You can hit the old Funky16Corners web zine for a little more info on Booker (follow the link and then scroll down).

Peace

Larry

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Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

September 6, 2009

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Funky16Corners Radio v.73 – Vanishing Point aka the Return of Super Soul

Playlist

Booker T & the MGs – Chicken Pox (Stax)
Buddy Miles – Them Changes (Mercury)
5th Dimension – Shake Your Tambourine (Bell)
Shirley Bassey – Spinning Wheel (UA)
Dorothy Norwood – Soul Train (GRC)
Bo Diddley – High Again (Checker)
Buena Vistas – Soul Ranger (Marquee)
Labelle – Lady Marmalade (Epic)
Sisters and Brothers feat Sister Geri – Chained (Calla)
Hoctor – Gold Coast (Hoctor)
Bobby Byrd – If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat (King)
James Brown – Hot Pants Pts 2&3 (People)
Jimmy McGriff – Shaft (Groove Merchant)
Ken Munson – Rocks In My Bed (Paramount)
Mickey & the Soul Generation – Chocolate (Maxwell)
Bohannon – Truck Stop (Dakar)


To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end of the interwebs.
As stated on Friday, it’s been a very busy period here at Funky16Corners headquarters, with the two sprouts headed to school, many (MANY) appointments on the books and general life type stuff piling up around me.
Among the items on the “to do” list were a new mix for this very blog, as well as an upcoming guest mix for somewhere else, as well as a rash of digi-ma-tizing and filing new arrivals and future mix contents.
Before we get started with the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio thang, it behooves me to note that there is a minor change in the blogroll. Last week the fine Echoes In the Wind blog was officially discomblogulated by the bureaucrats over at Blogger (one of the many reasons I abandoned that service a few years back for the elysian fields of WordPress) and he was left – as the kids say – with his cheese flapping in the wind. Not one to let tragedy get him down, Greg has reconstituted his blogging space as Echoes Again (at WordPress, natch) and the least I can do is send you good folks over his way to help him get restarted. Make sure that you click on over this Tuesday (9/8) for the grand reopening.
The mix I bring you today is something I’ve had cooking on the back burner for a while. If you follow the comings and goings here at Funky16Corners, you know that no matter how many times the Funky16Corners Radio mixes enter the realm of high concept, I always find the time to take a step back every once in a while to whip some straight ahead funk and soul on you good people.
Today’s selection, ‘Vanishing Point: The Return of Super Soul’ – aka Funky16Corners Radio v. 73 – sees us taking some very solid funk (some familiar, most not so much) and wrapping it up in bits and pieces of one of my all time favorite movies.
Things get off to a rousing start with what I would say is the greatest Meters song neither written or recorded by the giants of the Crescent City. When one thinks of someone copping a little of that Meters juice, you would imagine the suspects to be some obscure, one-off group from the funky hinterlands, instead of perhaps the greatest of all 60’s instrumental soul bands, that being Booker T & the MGs. Coming from their last LP in 1971, the incredible ‘Melting Pot’, ‘Chicken Pox’ is one of those tunes you’d just love to spring on the heads in some kind of blindfold test. The first time I heard it, ‘Chicken Pox’ made my head spin. The opening second of the song sound as if they were lifted from any early Meters 45, and when Al Jackson comes in on the drums (with Booker T joining him almost simultaneously on the organ), and Steve Cropper whips out that big, rolling guitar riff, it’s kind of hard not to imagine the boys from Memphis didn’t feel Art, George, Leo and Zig snapping at their heels. How I wish this was available on 45….
Next up is a cat (and a song) that ought to be familiar to regular visitors to this space. Drummer/singer Buddy Miles was literally and figuratively a giant, who managed to mix rock and soul as well as anyone. His best known song ‘Them Changes’, covered countless times – heard here in its original form -  is a hard charging freight train of a record, with fat, fuzzy bass, blazing horns and of course Buddy’s vocals up on top.
If you haven’t read the set list yet, give the next song a listen and see if you can figure out who it is. Were you thinking of the 5th Dimension? I actually bought the album that this song appears on for another cover (which turned out to be a completely different song than I was looking for), but when I heard this wild version of Bobby Marchan’s ‘Shake Your Tambourine’ I knew my money wasn’t wasted.
Now, if you saw the name Shirley Bassey and did a double take, listen to her take on Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’ and be reassured. It’s one of those songs that produces interesting cover versions in incongruous sources, and this is no exception. Opening with an odd bit of swirling orchestration, it’s only a few seconds before some solid bass drops in, followed by funky drums, fatback guitar and Ms. Bassey’s reliably hot vocals.
It was the night of the last Asbury Park 45 Sessions when I scored the next 45, right out of my man DJ Prestige’s sale box. Dorothy Norwood is one of the biggest gospel stars of the last 40 years, but also has the distinction of having toured with the decidedly secular Rolling Stones. I grabbed ‘Get On Board the Soul Train’ mainly because I pick up ‘Soul Train’ records wherever I find them, but this one had the extra benefit of a very funky backing (dig that guitar riff) and a very soulful vocal my Ms Norwood.
Bo Diddley’s ‘I’m High Again’ is another find from that night, coming from Mr. Pat. James Longo. One of Big Bad Bo’s wilder numbers from his late 60s period (sought after by the crate digger types in your neighborhood), ‘I’m High Again’ sees the mighty Mr. Diddley namechecking LSD over a funky beat and some wild flanged guitar in a performance guaranteed to flip the wig of anyone that never listened past the early 60’s.
A couple of weeks back I layed the absolutely deadly funk of the Buena Vista’s ‘Kick-Back’ on you, and I promised that I’d be bringing you it’s very tasty flipside in the coming weeks. Well a promise made is a promise kept, so unzip your ears and let a little bit of the ‘Soul Ranger’ slide into your sound hole. It’s got breaks, a taste of Roy Ward’s ‘Horse With a Freeze’ and some very funky, wobble-legged guitar running through the whole thing. If there ever was a solid two-sider you needed for your record box, this is it my friends.
Last week when I dropped Labelle’s version of the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ I made mention of the fact that I always pack three versions of ‘Lady Marmalade’ in my DJ box. Two of them – by Nanette Workman and Mongo Santamaria – are relatively obscure. The third is of course the OG, which in the language of the streets is completely and utterly unfuckwithable. Featuring production by the mighty Toussaint, and backing from the Meters, it is, despite however much overexposure you might associate with the song, a burner of the first order, and very, very funky.
Another taste of Louisiana, is the funkier side of the Sisters and Brothers Calla 45, ‘Chained’. While not as heavy as ‘Yeah You Right’ (on Uni), ‘Chained’ is a great bit of southern funk.
The next cut is a record that I’d been chasing for a long time. I’ve had a copy of the Hoctor version of the Meter’s ‘Cissy Strut’ for years, but for just as long the cut ‘Gold Coast’ has eluded me. Until, that is, it showed up in Mr. Longo’s sales stack at the 45 Sessions and I agreed to pay him whatever he thought fair in order that the record should return with me to my lair. Fortunately for me he suggested a more than acceptable price, I dug into my change purse and we made the exchange. ‘Gold Coast’ is – to coin a phrase – funky as year-old gym socks, with two distinct grooves which switch rather abruptly in the middle of the song. It pains me to think of all the time I was walking around without a copy of this 45. It’s all better now.
Speaking of 45s that I pick up whenever I come across them, the works of Mr. Bobby Byrd are high on that particular list. I dig his many collaborations with the Godfather of Soul and drop the needle on them whenever I stand behind  the wheels of steel. ‘If You Don’t Work You Can’t Eat’, with its fantabulous intro of ‘Hello jocks and friends!’ is from the socially conscious side of the JB menu, and has a churning beat, with some great guitar and electric piano bubbling up from underneath.
And how can you drop some Bobby Byrd without paying tribute to the Godfather himself? When I was down in DC last time I whipped ‘Hot Pants Pt1’ on the crowd (to great acclaim I must say) so I figured I’d flip the disc and offer up Parts 2 and 3 for your delectation.
No Funky16Corners mix is complete without a taste of Hammond, so I bring you a little something from Mr. Jimmy McGriff. If there’s a bad version of the ‘Theme From Shaft’ I have yet to hear it. Listen as Mr. McGriff and his band vamp on that famous riff, until they get to bust out into the second part of the tune. Very groovy indeed.
I’m a nut for some funky flute (I have something along those very lines jamming its way to me via the intertubes that I simply cannot wait to whip on you) and Ken Munson’s ‘Superflute’ album is a solid source thereof. Sought after by beatheads for the break in the title track, the LP has much more to offer, including some cool covers and a couple of nice originals. The tune I bring you today is in the latter category. ‘Rocks In My Bed’ is a solid slice of Blaxplo-style groove.
Mickey and the Soul Generation are best known for the mighty ‘Iron Leg’, one of my all time favorite funk 45s. If you wish to sample another very tasty groove, you need only flip that 45 over for a taste of ‘Chocolate’. Not as organ heavy as the a-side, there’s some very tasty guitar and horns on ‘Chocolate’, as well as a propulsive groove. The whole thing’s not too far removed from an early Kool and the Gang vibe.
The early 70s Dakar recordings of Hamilton Bohannon are often cited as ‘disco’ records, but that has more to do with the fact that they were played in clubs (especially overseas) than any relation to what you might think of as a disco style. ‘Truck Stop’ from the 1974 LP ‘Keep On Dancing’ is a fantastic example of his very funky, groove oriented style in which the band digs into a riff and keeps digging for several minutes. I’m definitely going to be posting more by Bohannon in the future, so stay tuned.
That’s it for this edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I hope you dig the funky sounds, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

NOTE: Funky16Corners gets a nice namecheck from no less than the great Nick Hornby (author of ‘High Fidelity’ among others) on the Guardian UK website. Thanks Nick!

PPS – Make sure to fall by Iron Leg for some garage psyche

PPPS Make sure to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Singing Simple Songs

August 6, 2009

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Mongo Santamaria

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Booker, Duck, Al & Steve

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Listen/Download – Mongo Santamaria – Sing a Simple Song – MP3

Listen/Download – Booker T & the MGs – Sing a Simple Song – MP3

Greetings all.

I hope that the end of yet another summer week (as the season dwindles with increasing quickness) finds you all well.
I have just about recovered from last week’s road trip (and the previous week’s medical incarceration), just in time to meet the onrush of humidity. The weather here in NJ has taken a sudden, swampy turn and I couldn’t be less pleased. I’ve come to the point in my life where I try not to let the summer heat bother me (and I don’t) but no matter how much you steel yourself against the elements, no amount of vim can stand up to the wall of moisture that I’ve been encountering every time I step out the door.
It’s especially bad after chilling out – literally – in air conditioning and then facing the sudden burst of the outside world (like stepping into a wall of peanut butter) each morning.
Blecchhh….
Anyhoo, I shouldn’t grouse too much, since all else is well, especially considering how kind the vinyl fates were to me last week. I’m going to make a point of digging in and around our nation’s capitol as often as possible, since I came home with what one might colloquially refer to as a “shitstack” of records (LPs and 45s) that had not made the trip south with me.
Both of today’s selections are part of that haul.
Both are also versions of the very same Sly and the Family Stone tune, ‘Sing a Simple Song’.
I found the first one when I stopped into Som Records the first afternoon. No matter what some Latin vinyl snobs might say, I swear by Mongo Santamaria’s 1960s Columbia LPs, each and every one a healthy source of vitamin boogaloo, waiting to be injected into the ears of dancers wherever you go.
The LP I picked up last week – ‘All Strung Out’ – which features Mongo on the cover surrounded by a mound of string beans (clever visual pun, that!) caught my eye specifically because the text on the cover stated ‘Features Sing a Simple Song’. The LP was sealed, and available for a reasonable price, so I purchased it and took it with me.
While I was sitting in DJ Birdman’s driveway awaiting his return, I took my purchases out of the bag to examine them more closely. When I unsealed the Mongo LP, and looked at the label, my heart sank.
‘Sing a Simple Song’ was credited to ‘B. Darin’, which suggested to me that the tune being covered was in fact Bobby Darin’s ‘(Sing a) Simple Song of Freedom’. I dig Bobby Darin as much as the next cat, but if this was indeed the case, the funk quotient just flew out the window.
When Birdman got home I mentioned this to him. He asked me if this was the LP with the string beans, to which I replied in the affirmative, to which he replied that he was pretty sure that the tune on the record was indeed the Sly tune. It was but a few minutes later that a needle drop confirmed that this was in fact the case, and that the label was a mistake.
Whew….
That said, Mongo takes the Sly Stone foundation and slaps on a layer of Latin funk, creating in the process exactly the kind of sound I was looking for.
The second version of the song I bring you today was procured a day later in the fine city of Richmond, VA. Much like Senor Santamaria, whenever I encounter an OG LP by Booker T & the MGs, if it’s one I do not already have, I grab it.
This time out, the LP in question was ‘The Booker T Set’ – which I did not own – which also contained a version of ‘Sing a Simple Song’ (which, oddly enough is also miscredited on the label). The record store where I found it had a listening station, so I gave it a spin and discovered what you will shortly be discovering, that being that the Booker T version of ‘Sing a Simple Song’ gets started with a very tasty (and for all you DJs out there, seeming panned all the way to one side) break by the mighty Al Jackson Jr.
Booker T and band take the tune at a slightly more relaxed pace, but I have as much room in my ears (they’re big) for downtempo funk as I do for the fast stuff, so I dig it.
I hope you do to, and I’ll be back on Monday with some gritty funk.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for some Wall of Sound-ness….

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners On the Road (Again)

July 23, 2009

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Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and I am once again a free man. The tube has been removed from my kidney (not as painful as I thought it was going to be) and I am back on the street again.
I’m a little bit behind the eight ball – confinement in a hospital room for the better part of a week kind of takes it out of you – but I fully expect to be up to speed in a few days.
I come to you empty handed at the end of the week because the wife and I spent the entire day on the road retrieving the two smallest Corners from their grandparents who were kind enough to watch them while I was ill. We had to drive to upstate NY, and then took a route home that initially looked like a smart move but turned into a long string of traffic nightmares. We only just rolled through the door about an hour ago, so there wasn’t really time to prepare something (you can always hit the archives and check out a mix you may have missed the first time out).
However, I have some news…
Next week I’ll be packing up the heat (LPs as well as 45s) in the Funky16Corners-mobile and rolling down to Washington, DC for a couple of nights of vinyl goodness.
Next Wednesday, 7/29 I’ve been invited to spin as part of the crew at the 5th Anniversary of DJ Birdman and DC Digga’s night ‘Jazz Corner of the World’ at Café St Ex, 1847 14th St NW in DC. If you dig the sounds of jazz (all kinds, from hard bop to rare grooves) you need to fall by since Birdman and DC Digga know how to do it up right, and there will be other special guests bringing the heat including Richmond, VA’s own DJ Fatback (who knows him some jazz). Things get rolling at 7PM and go all night long.
Then – yes there’s more – on Friday night 7/31 yours truly, Larry Grogan aka Funky16Corners will be working in long form over at Marvin (a very cool place) a few blocks up at 2007 14th St NW (in DC, natch) where I’ll be manning the storied wheels of steel from 10PM all the way to closing time. You can expect the usual funk, soul and rare groove with bits of disco and jazz (anything that moves the dancers) mixed in.
I’m really looking forward to working up a nice, long groove, and I know the folks in DC like to dance, so we should all get along swimmingly.
If you’re in driving distance try to fall by and make the scene one of those nights, and be sure to stop by the booth and say howdy.
That said, have a groovy weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday.

Peace

Larry

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for the Second Anniversary Mix! .

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

PSSS Don’t forget to hit up Funky16Corners on Facebook

Funky16Corners 2009 Pledge Drive b/w Funky16Corners Radio v.70

May 31, 2009

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To hear this mix, head on over to the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast Archive

Funky16Corners Radio v.70 – Daddy Rollin’ Stone
Gentleman June Gardner – It’s Gonna Rain (Emarcy)
Turtles – Buzz Saw (White Whale)
Promenade Hits Band – She’s Looking Good (Promenade)
Albert Collins – Don’t Lose Your Cool ( TCF/Hall)
Derek Martin – Daddy Rollin’ Stone (Crackerjack)
Alvin Cash & the Crawlers – The Barracuda (Mar V Lus)
Frank Frost – My Back Scratcher (Jewel)
Nat Kendrick & the Swans – Dish Rag (Dade)
Sam & Dave – I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Hurt Nobody (Stax)
Billy Lamont – Sweet Thang (20th Century)
Billy Preston – Let the Music Play (Capitol)
Bobby Powell & Jackie Johnson – Done Got Over (Whit)
Willie Mitchell – Respect (Hi)
Carl Holmes & the Commanders – I Want My Ya Ya (Parkway)
David Rockingham Trio – Soulful Chant (Josie)
Emperors – Got To Find My Baby (Mala)
Johnny Copeland – Wake Up Little Suzy (Wand)
Harvey Scales & the Seven Sounds – The Get Down (Magic Touch)
Mickey Murray – Hit Record (SSS Intl)
Lewis Clark – Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend) (Brent)
Scatman Crothers – Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman (HBR)
Don Gardner – People Sure Act Funny (Red Top)
Earl King – Trick Bag (Imperial)
Little Joe Curtis – Your Miniskirt (Alshire)

Greetings all.

I’d like to welcome one and all to the 2009 edition of the Funky16Corners Blog Pledge Drive.
This is the third year that I come to you, asking for donations to help keep the Funky16Corners Blog (and family of associated blogs) and webzine up and running (at least as far as interwebs based storage in concerned).
As it stands, in addition to all the standard graphics and individual sound files, there are now 79 mixes in the Funky16Corners Podcast Archive (more to come as I gather and post all the non-Funky16 mixes I’ve done for other sites) and another 25 in the Iron Leg Digital Trip Archive. As has always been the case, I pay for dedicated server space where I store all these files, and as has always been the case, this costs a little bit of money. Back in the olden days I was able to depend on free space, but thanks to some hot linkage back in ought-six the blog underwent a sudden and sustained increase in traffic that necessitated moving into paid digs.
If you’ve been following the blog with any frequency you’ll know that this year the situation is a little more critical since yours truly is no longer gainfully employed. This is not to say that I’m not working, since I resigned my position so that I could remain home to care for my two sons, but aside from the fringe benefit of spending lots of quality time with the kids, the pay is – how do you say? – non-existent.
That said, the blogs will continue unabated, since this is what I do. If you count the Funky16Corners web zine, I’ve been at this since 2001. The Funky16Corners Blog will celebrate its 5th anniversary on the interwebs this November (Iron Leg will be two years old at the end of June).
If you dig what we do here, and have the means and the will to throw a couple of bucks into the operating budget (as it is), you need only click on the Paypal links below and do so (special thanks to those of you that contributed between the drives) . If you don’t want to, or can’t afford to, that’s cool too. Times are (really) tough all over, and if the music that I post here makes you happy, or soothes your soul in any way at all, pass it on to a friend and spread the good vibes.

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Click Here To Donate via Paypal

NOTE: If you’ve been having any trouble going through the donation process at Paypal, make sure to click on the blue “update total” button to complete the process. – LG

I was just ruminating the other day on the idea that blogging (at least on my end) has really changed the way that I listen to music. Digging out and exploring individual tracks in depth, especially on headphones, which creates a kind of closed loop wherein one can really get inside of a record, moving around the back alleys of an arrangement, finding all manner of hidden wonders that are overlooked in a casual/passive listening environment. This is probably true for anyone who consumes the majority of their music via headphones, in my case through the almighty iPod. One of the reasons I started doing the Funky16Corners Radio mixes was – aside from a compulsion to gather and frame music in a thematic fashion, which goes back to the earliest days of mix-tapes – so that I could sit down and dig into a group of songs.
As has been stated in this space several times in the past, I make these mixes as much for myself as I do for you folks. The Funky16Corners Radio playlist has verily burned a hole in my iPod, providing the lions share of my listening when I was chained to a desk, and almost as much when I find the time during the day. That someone besides me gets some enjoyment out of the enterprise is a (very) happy by product.
Since the inception of the Funky16Corners Radio thing back in 2006, there have been all kinds of mixes, many themed geographically (i.e. New Orleans and Philadelphia), a number of Hammond organ mixes (you know how I roll), lots of general soul and funk mixes and in the last two years a bunch of jazzy collections (which are some of my faves) (over 1,000 tracks in the mixes alone).
Since this is the 70th edition of Funky16Corners Radio, I thought that the time was right for a return to the roots with a collection of straight ahead soul. There’s some R&B, and a touch of the funk here and there, but by and large what you get in Funky16Corners Radio v.70 is a soundtrack for what has been referred to here in the past as your next ripple and potato chip party. Get your friends together with a large quantity of alcohol (or the intoxicant of your choice), slap this one on an MP3 delivery device, sit back and watch things get out of hand. By the end of the (nearly an) hour, the floor is going to be littered with cans, bottles, articles of clothing, someone’s going to have locked themselves in the restroom (doing God knows what) and that guy from the office will be out on the deck wondering how he burned off his eyebrows with the barbecue grill.
I slapped on my miners helmet and descended into the darkest corners of the Funky16Corners warehouse, fireproof gloves and tongs in hand, to bring back a selection of rough and ready bangers. A couple of these numbers may be familiar to long time visitors of the blog, but reframed properly, in a new and exciting context, the old and familiar will soon reveal hidden charms.
So, things get underway with what is probably my all time favorite New Orleans instrumental, Gentleman June Gardner’s ‘It’s Gonna Rain’. Believe it or not this is a cover of a Sonny & Cher song (the flipside of ‘I Got You Babe’).
Keeping things on the incongruous Sunset Strip 1960s tip, I bring you the Turtles (?!?!?) with ‘Buzz Saw’. Known far and wide to crate digger types and Hammond aficionados, ‘Buzz Saw’, which is unlike anything else the Turtles ever recorded, is a positively slamming and extremely greasy organ workout. My suspicion has always been that the organist on ‘Buzz Saw’ was someone outside of the band, but if anyone knows different, drop me a line.
The next track is a cover of Rodger Collins’ ‘She’s Looking Good’ as performed by the wholly anonymous Promenade Records band (they’re not actually given any name at all on the record). This originated on a two-EP set (with a cool picture sleeve) composed of covers of then contemporary tune (rock and soul) that I found at a record show. Going by the Newark, NJ address, my assumption is that this is related somehow to the Peter Pan childrens record company, which released a couple of non-kids exploito cash-in collections over the years. Whoever the singer is, he does a pretty nice job.
Albert Collins is a huge personal fave of mine. Though he is most often associated with the blues, mainly due to his later career when he recorded for the Alligator label, Collins spent most of the 60s recording a series of genre-bending 45s for a variety of labels. The sounds he made touched on soul, garage, surf and pure rock’n’roll, even getting funky when he signed up with Imperial in the late 60s. ‘Don’t Lose Your Cool’ is one of his TFC/Hall 45s and swings like 60 from the git go.
The cut that gives this mix its name, ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ by Derek Martin is indisputably one of the great soul records of the 60s. Need I say more?
‘The Barracuda’ is yet another in a long line of similarly burning, lo-fi and blazing numbers laid down by Chitown wonders Alvin Cash and the Crawlers. Like the mighty Jerry-O, Alvin and his pals managed to take a formula, work it to death but doing so in a way that keeps you coming back.
Speaking of good and greasy, when you’re working in the sonic universe things just don’t get any moreso than when Frank Frost plugged in his git-box and kicked up some juke joint dust with the mighty ‘My Back Scratcher’, wherein Slim Harpo and Mongo Santamaria fall under the wheels of a speeding bus, get scraped up off the road, tossed in a blender, served over ice with a twist of Dixie Peach. Try not moving to this one.
I don’t know much about Nat Kendrick and the Swans, other than the fact that they recorded for Henry Stone’s Florida-based Dade imprint, and that there is a distinct possibility that this is in fact an extra-contractual James Brown-related side. How does one do the dish rag???
Sam and Dave said they weren’t going to hurt nobody. They LIED!!!! This track is a killer.
Billy Lamont was an R&B/soul journeyman when he went into the studio in the mid-60s, with a freaky young cat by the name of James Marshall Hendrix and recorded the brutal ‘Sweet Thang’. Heavy stuff indeed, though not as heavy as Jimi would get a year or so down the pike.
Though Billy Preston would spend the 70s as a major recording star, he spent much of the previous decade playing the organ behind other performers like Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also got a couple of opportunities to record under his own name, for a variety of labels (including Derby, Vee Jay and Capitol) many of which are stellar. The finest of these – at least in my opinion – is ‘Let the Music Play’ in which Mr. Preston is assisted ably by a young Sylvester Stewart, soon to change his name to Sly Stone. Do yourself a favor and slap on the headphones for this one and dig the stereo panning with the screams in the chorus. Very groovy indeed!
Louisiana-based singer Bobby Powell was featured here not long ago with a solid cover of the Staple Singer’s ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’. The tune I bring you in this mix is a rollicking duet with singer Jackie Johnson (about whom I know nothing) entitled ‘Done Got Over’.
While I was prowling around in the crates compiling this mix I happened upon one of the many Willie Mitchell LPs I have and grabbed this groovy little cover of ‘Respect’. Give it a listen and I think you’ll dig it.
Another band from the list of folks that worked with (but sadly did not record with) Jimi Hendrix before he hit it big is Philadelphia’s own Carl Holmes and the Commanders. Holmes recorded consistently through the 60s for Parkway, Atlantic and other labels, laying down R&B, soul and a couple of slices of slamming funk. The Commanders ‘I Want My Ya Ya’ is one of their earlier sides, from the days when they were playing up and down the East Coast, and serving (according to Animal House writer Chris Miller) as one of the models for Otis Day and the Knights in ‘Animal House’.
The David Rockingham Trio are a serious presence in the Funky16Corners Hammond crates. ‘Soulful Chant’ is by far my fave number by the band.
The Emperors – who hailed from the Harrisburg area but recorded in Philadelphia – laid down some very hot soul sides for Mala and Brunswick. In addition to their smoking version of Don Gardner’s ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’, they also recorded the killer ‘Got To Find My Baby’.
Johnny Copeland is another one of the great rocking bluesmen. I happened upon his version of ‘Wake Up Little Susie’, which stomps all over the original, sounding like Johnny and Huey P Meaux had the Everlys tied up and locked in the trunk of a car. It is without doubt the wildest version you’ll ever hear of this particular song.
If you were ever tempted to doubt the soulful pedigree of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you might want to take a second and investigate the discography of Mr Harvey Scales and his Seven Sounds, who, it must me said, kick ass. A fine example of this ass-kicking power is the mighty – and appropriately titled – ‘The Get Down’, during which Harvey and the boys do indeed (get down).
Mickey Murray is best known for his wailing version of ‘Shout Bamalama’, but the funkier ‘Hit Record’ manages to be soulful and of instructional value at the same time.
I know nothing about Lewis Clark, aside from the undeniable fact that ‘Dog (Ain’t a Man’s Best Friend)’ is high quality, even higher octane soul. Clark recored for the Brent label, which also released some excellent garage punk 45s.
If you didn’t hear Scatman Crothers wailing when I first posted ‘Golly Zonk! It’s Scatman’ a while back, then open your ears and dig, because in addition to his Coolsville Hall of Fame turn as the voice of Hong Kong Phooey, Scatman absolutely BURNS on this one, on the HBR label, home to much wailing garage punk.
I mentioned Don Gardner earlier (in relation to the essential ‘My Baby Likes To Boogaloo’). Go back a few years before that and dig his smoking, Ray Charles-esque take on Titus Turner’s ‘People Sure Act Funny’. Gardner’s frequent partner Dee Dee Ford is mentioned on the label, but I don’t hear her in the mix.
We head back down to New Orleans for a certified classic by the great Earl King. King recorded a wide variety of bluesy sounds under his own name, as well as writing several classic tunes and performing on other people’s records, including providing the voice and whistling (and composition) on Professor Longhair’s ‘Big Chief’. ‘Trick Bag’ brings us a lyrical taste of the New Orleans voodoo culture, along with a great vocal by King.
Things close out with another odd bit of soul, this time by Little Joe Curtis. Taken from a compilation on the exploito Alshire label (where it appeared alongside some psyche by the Animated Egg and a couple of easy listening cuts), ‘Your Miniskirt’ borrows liberally from the Fantastic Johnny C’s ‘Boogaloo Down Broadway’.
I hope you dig this edition of Funky16Corners Radio and if you can afford it, toss something into the tip cup as you pass by. I’ll be back next week with more soulful goodness.

Peace

Larry

Example

Click Here To Donate via Paypal

PS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg to check out my favorite mix from the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive.

NOTE: Don’t forget to check out the Funky16Corners feature over at the Dust and Grooves blog.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too.

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